Texas Medical Center, a 675-acre complex south of downtown Houston, took legal steps last week to prevent one of its premier hospitals from negotiating a deal with Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.
The center received a temporary restraining order from the 151st Civil District Court of Harris County to block St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital from implementing its proposed transaction. A hearing on the action is set for this week.
Richard E. Wainerdi, Texas Medical's president and chief executive officer, said St. Luke's brought to him about 10 days ago details of a proposed deal with Columbia. Under the plan, Michael Jhin, St. Luke's president and CEO, would manage Columbia's 19-hospital network in Houston. MODERN HEALTHCARE*reported last month that Jhin was being considered to run Columbia's Houston network (April 29, p. 17).
Jay Grinney, who had been president of Columbia's Houston division, left April 2 to become its Eastern group president. Houston is Columbia's largest division, with $1.25 billion in annual revenues.
Although the proposed deal doesn't involve selling St. Luke's, Wainerdi said it still would violate Texas Medical Center's founding covenants, which stipulate that institutions built there had to remain not-for-profit.